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Today we have the lovely picture book,Seashells: More Than a Homeby team who brought us the fabulousFeathers:  Not Just for Flying(previous review),  Melissa Stewart and Sarah S.Brannen.

This title really stands out because it does so much more than describe or identify shells a child might find on the beach.Instead,it breathes life into the creatures that inhabit different seashells by showing how all the various sizes,shapes,and colors help the members of the Phylum Mollusca -- or mollusks -- survive.

How good is it?My friend who is a retired school librarian and I discovered this book on the library shelf at almost the same time.Deciding to see who got to read it first nearly involved arm wrestling...

Other pluses:

Author Melissa Stewart uses the popular dual-layered text.Younger readers can find out the basics about seashells in the large-sized text at the top of the page,whereas older readers can explore more details with the denser,smaller text further down the page.

Sarah S.Brannen's watercolor illustrations incorporate both the mysterious beauty of the seashells and the delight of children when they discover one.

Seashells:  More Than a Homeis a wonderful resource for studies on ocean or beach habitats.It would also make a great gift for nature lovers,especially before a trip to the beach.Discover a copy today!

Suggested activities:

  • See the free,downloadable  7-page Teacher's Guide atCharlesbridge(Click the "downloadables" tab at middle of the page).
  • What happens when you put seashells in vinegar?What does this tell you about what they are made of?(See instructions atScholastic,for example).
  • Sue atArchimedes Notebookhas some great activity suggestions,including an art project and a scavenger hunt.She also has a review of the book.

Age Range: 6 - 9 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (April 2,2019)
ISBN-10: 1580898106
ISBN-13: 978-1580898102

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library.Also,I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products.As you probably are aware,if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product,I will receive a very small commission,at no extra cost to you.Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit theSTEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science,Technology,Engineering and Math books.Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.

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For STEM Friday let's take a look at a beautiful new picture book,On Gull Beachby Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall.

In this book,youngsters learn about seagulls and other inhabitants of a Massachusetts beach.

The story follows a young boy as he explores the seashore.Along the way,he spots a sea star.Before he can reach it,however,a seagull picks it up and flies away.Find out what he discovers as he chases the gull along the beach.

Jane Yolen's simple,but expertly-crafted rhyming text and Bob Marstall's exceptional illustrations make a delightful combination.Plus,you can't go wrong with the people of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology backing it.

The back matter includes more detailed information about gulls,other shorebirds,sea stars,and different types of crabs.Included are small color photographs of the different animals,plus QR Codes that will take you to sound files.There is also a sidebar about "How You Can Help Our Beaches and Wildlife."

Young birdwatchers will loveOn Gull Beach.It would also be a great choice for a trip to the beach,either in real life or in the reader's imagination.Enjoy a copy today!

Age Range: 4 - 11 years
Publisher:Cornell Lab Publishing Group(March 27,2018)
ISBN-10: 1943645183
ISBN-13: 978-1943645183

Related Seagull Science Activities

1.Identifying Birds

Encourage children to learn how to identify birds.When children can tell different birds apart,they pay more attention to the birds they see.

Identifying birds requires learning to recognize body shapes,learning the names of body parts,plus honing observation skills.The Cornell Lab of Ornithology hassome tips and resourcesto get started.

The type of seagulls featured in the book are herring gulls.As you can see from the illustrations,herring gulls have robust white bodies,light gray on their wings,pink legs and feet,yellow eyes,and they have a red spot towards the tip of their yellow lower beak.  TheAll About Birds websitehas more details and photographs of herring gulls.

Is this a herring gull?Check the characteristics listed above.Does it match?

Nope.There are more than 20 species of gulls in North America.  This is an immature Heermann's gull (Larus heermanni).

2.Questions and Answers: Seagulls

Q: How are the feet of seagulls different from those of the song birds in your community?

A: The seagulls have webbed feet for swimming.

Q: What sounds do seagulls make?

Seagulls make a number of different sounds depending on circumstances.They have alarm calls,courtship calls,sounds to defend territories,and sounds when they feed their chicks.All About Birds has someseagull sound recordings.

Q: Why do seagulls have dots on their beaks?

A: Seagull chicks peck the dot on the beak as a signal they want to be fed.

Q:  Are seagulls only found at the beach?

A:  No.Seagulls are also found inland,around rivers and lakes,and even in agricultural fields.They are common around landfills.

Q:  Do seagulls really eat sea stars like in the book?

A:  Seagulls eat many different creatures at the beach,including sea stars,crabs,and fish.Those found at the landfill are feeding on trash.

Here are some clever gulls eating snails.

No matter how you crack it,seagulls are interesting animals.

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Earlier titles in theOn Bird Hill and Beyondseries:
On Bird Hill(2016) by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall

On Duck Pond(2017) by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall

See ourgrowing list of children's books for young birdwatchersat Science Books for Kids.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher's representatives for review purposes.Also,I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products.As you probably are aware,if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product,I will receive a very small commission,at no extra cost to you.Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit theSTEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science,Technology,Engineering and Math books.

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For STEM Friday we are featuring a new children's picture book,About Marine Mammals: A Guide for Childrenby Cathryn Sill and illustrated byJohn Sill.

The Sills are a talented couple who have been collaborating on books in the award-winningAbout...series and theAbout Habitatsseries.If you have seen their work before,you know what to expect.John Sill's gorgeous watercolor illustrations catch the readers' eyes.Then they turn to Cathryn Sill's clear,uncomplicated language.In remarkably few words she explains the scene and draws readers into it.

The "Afterward" in the back matter contains more detailed information about each of the previous scenes with a paragraph about each next to thumbnails of the illustrations.For example,did you know polar bears can be considered to be marine mammals?They swim between blocks of floating ice looking for other marine mammals such as seals.

Planning a trip to the beach?About Marine Mammalswould be a perfect book to get children inspired about ocean creatures before the trip,learn more about what they see during the trip,and reinforce memories and learning after the trip.Not traveling?It would also be a wonderful way to take a trip to distant,cool places in your imagination.

Related posts and activities:

  1. Earlier post about humpback whaleswith 3 suggested science activities.
  2. Week ofocean-themed STEAM activities
  3. Astro,The Steller Sea Lion

ocean-themed-childrens-books

See ourgrowing list of ocean and beach science-themed children's booksat our sister blog,Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 4 - 7 years
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (August 1,2016)
ISBN-10: 1561459062
ISBN-13: 978-1561459063

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes.Also,I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products.As you probably are aware,if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product,I will receive a very small commission,at no extra cost to you.Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit theSTEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science,Technology,Engineering and Math books.

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